Sunday, October 14, 2018

Hiking Bell Rock in Sedona

We traveled to Sedona via I-17 North, and got off at exit 298 having no idea where we were going or what we were going to to do.  All we knew is that everyone told us “you have to go to Sedona while you are in Arizona!”.  I looked up some suggestions on the Internet and had some ideas, but was concerned about parking.  Thankfully, we came across the Red Rock RD Visitor Center just a few miles up the road.  The ranger gave us some maps and information on the area, and also suggested that we spend the afternoon hiking around Bell Rock. 

Normally to hike in Red Rock Country, you will need a Red Rock Pass or Federal Interagency Pass.  We have a Federal Interagency Military Pass (free for all active duty military and/or dependents), but it turns out that there are a few weekends a year when you do not need a pass and we happened to be there on way of them (Columbus Day Weekend).  If you need to purchase a Red Rock pass they are currently $5 for the day or $15 for a weekly pass (7 consecutive days).  95% of the funds received from these passes are used to enhance visitor services and provide environmental protection.

Bell Rock is one of the first Red Rock formations that you see on your way into Sedona.  The trailhead is just past the Village of Oak Creek.  The parking lot was crowded, but we were still able to fit our 35 foot RV.

The nice thing about hiking here is that there is an abundance of trails and connector trails, so you can make your hike as long or short as you’d like.  With the dark clouds and six children, this was very appealing to us.  

Turns out we ended up having perfect overcast skies and 65 degree temperatures, which allowed for us to hike nearly 6 miles in and around this area.  

We started out hiking Big Park Loop around Courthouse Butte.  You get some wonderful views of the Red Rock Scenery on this moderately used trail.

 The trail is mostly flat with a few small up and downs.

After hiking around Courthouse Butte, we hiked around Bell Rock and then allowed the kids to scramble up Bell Rock - their favorite part!   They made it pretty high, but not all the way to the top.

The real reward for climbing up Bell Rock is turning around and seeing the gorgeous panoramic vista of Red Rock Country.

To head back to the parking lot, we took Rector Trail to Rock Pathway.  Rector Trail is newer trail with much less traffic.  There were a few spots where we had difficulty following the trail, but I’m sure as it gets used more it will become easier to follow.  

One thing is for sure, we LOVE Arizona!

If you are spending some time in the Sedona area, be sure to check out our hike on Huckaby Trail and our visit to Montezuma Castle.  For more of our adventures, visit the Travel Page on the blog and follow us on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Huckaby Trail: Our Accidental Find in Sedona

We were on our way to the Visitor’s Center in Uptown Sedona when we made a wrong turn and ended up on Schenebly Hill Road.  The small, winding road was not exactly ideal for our 35 foot RV, but with no way to turn around we continued up the road until we found ourselves at a trailhead.  We had intended on going to the Visitor Center to find a trail to hike, but being that we stumbled upon this one, we decided to check it out.  A local woman was there walking her dogs and recommended Huckaby Trail.  And a wonderful recommendation it was!

The trail starts out level but then descends rather quickly down to Bear Wallow Wash.  Water was flowing and there is no bridge, but we were able to rock hop our way across without getting wet.  There is little shade along the trail, so I’m sure on warmer days the creek crossings would be welcomed!  Which reminds me, be sure to bring plenty of water!

The scenic views are beautiful, but the trail is never far from the sights and sounds of Sedona.  The smell of BBQ taunted us most of the trip 🤣.

This was probably the first hike that I have ever felt like we were hiking in the middle of town and nowhere at the same time!  You'll catch some amazing views of the red rock formations.  Each turn on the trail has its own surprise!

There are some parts of the trail that are narrow with some steep drop offs.  It was difficult in some parts to walk and hold the hand of the younger children.  There is also a lot of up and down on this trail, but it was never too steep.

Our 1 year old of course loved being carried the whole way!   But, for the most part I was comfortable with all the other children (ages 3-9 years old) hiking the trail and they had no difficulties. 

We did not see a lot of wildlife (of course we are not exactly a quiet crew), but we did enjoy the vibrant color of this unique Pointleaf Manzanita.  Various kinds of cacti also line the trail.  The kids have really enjoyed learning about the different kinds of cacti.  Did you know that Fishhook Barrell Cactus is also called Compass Cactus, because it always leans pointing southwest.  This could be a handy tip to know if you ever get lost in the desert!  

Huckaby Trail is a 5.3 mile out and back trail that turns around after another creek crossing (Oak Creek) and a view of Midgley Bridge.  Unfortunately, the weather turned on us and at the first crack of thunder in the distance we turned around.  We did not want to get caught in a storm with 6 small kids and a flowing wash to cross.  So we only hiked out 1.8 miles (3.6 miles round trip) and never made it to the bridge.  Shortly after we made it back to the RV the skies opened up and there was torrential rain, lightening, and even some small hail, so I feel that we made the correct decision even though we were disappointed that we never made it to Midgley Bridge.  We will just have to come back and do this hike again sometime!

All in all, a wonderful, unexpected find!

For more of our adventures, be sure to check out our Travel Page on the blog and follow us on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures.